Benderloch triumph at Campbeltown Drama Festival

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Members of Benderloch and North Connel Drama Club were celebrating this week after their success at the 71st Campbeltown Drama Festival which took place last week. The club entered the festival with two plays, Rebel Alliance and  Penguin Diplomacy, both by John Finnemore.

Sophie Caruana in Penguin Diplomacy.
Photograph: Hannah O’Hanlon, Campbeltown Courier.

Penguin Diplomacy won the Rex Trophy for first place overall, the Campbeltown Drama Club Trophy for best stage presentation and, for the second year in a row, the Jenny Black Memorial Trophy for highest marks for acting. The last award was first offered at the festival in 2019, when Benderloch were the first drama group to win it. Nicole O’Brien won an individual trophy, The Visitor’s Quaich, awarded for A Moment in Theatre, for her depiction of Lizzie in Rebel Alliance.

This is only the second time that Benderloch drama club have attended the festival and winning overall entitles them to represent Argyll and Kintyre in the Scottish Community Drama Association western divisional final, which will take place at the Beacon Arts Centre in Greenock on March 28.

Performed by Sophie Caruana and Angus Vajk, Penguin Diplomacy is set in 1948 on a rocky island in the South Atlantic. Bunning, a British diplomat arrives to claim the island for Britain, but the resident Dane, Sondergaard and some penguins have other ideas. The play can be seen at the North Lorn Drama Festival in Appin on Wednesday March 25, with the director, Mike Rowell, taking the role of Sondergaard.

Rebel Alliance is set at a wedding reception where mismatched Eileen and Lizzie, played by Linda Robb and Nicole O’Brien, are forced to share the table at the back of the room.

Both of these plays were written by John Finnemore as part of his Double Acts series for Radio 4 and Oban audiences will be familiar with the three other Double Acts that were performed by Benderloch Drama Club last year.

Rebel Alliance can be seen as part of the Lorn Drama Festival on Thursday March 19 and in the North Lorn Drama Festival on March 26 in Appin Village Hall.